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Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon (DOS)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Oleg Roschin (164965)
Written on  :  Jun 14, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful

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Not really the best of the series, but still pretty damn good!

The Good

Filled with all kinds of wacky situations, weird encounters, and silly fun, "Space Quest III" is perhaps the most typical game of the series, its most "pure" representative. Together with its fantastic Space Quest IV, it is also the one fans of the series usually remember most fondly.

Technically, this game was a big step forwards compared to its predecessor; with a new, updated version of classic Sierra text-based interface, the game's interaction became richer, more intelligent and satisfying. The graphics were also much more impressive than in the first two installments; until now, "Space Quest III" is remembered as one of the finest examples of late EGA graphics. Even compared to other Sierra games made with the same engine, like Quest for Glory II or the second and third of Leisure Suit Larry games, the graphics of "Space Quest III" had something that made it stand out.

The game presents a great variety of locations, classical Space Quest-style planet-hopping that was lacking in the second game. From a spaceship graveyard to intergalactic burger restaurant and a strange semi-abandoned planet, the locations of "Space Quest III" always kept the player interested, pressing him to continue playing and to see where would he be taken next.

Gameplay-wise, "Space Quest III" has decidedly more to offer than the previous games. The new text parser allows you to choose more concrete verbs and some very specific actions. There was an excellent variety of different situations and actions you could perform in the game. From traditional exploration and item-gathering to playing funny mini-games, navigating a space ship, or infiltrating a company building disguised as a janitor (what a disguise, indeed...), there were plenty of things to do. This kept the game fresh. There was not a bit of repetitive gameplay in it, it was amusing from the beginning to the end.

The humor is also much more evident in this title than in the two previous games. There are more weird and amusing characters, all kinds of funny situations, plus the traditional death scenes that were the trademark of Sierra's adventures at that time.

Also, while in the two previous games you were still a nameless "player" (although the hero's real name was mentioned in documentation), this is the first game where Roger Wilco acts under his own name. In this game particularly, the charming "loser" personality of Roger comes to life. Later Space Quest installments added more character development, but "Space Quest III" made a step into this direction.

The Bad

Although "Space Quest III" did many things better than its two predecessors, it didn't really offer anything new. Everyone choose their own favorite in a beloved series, but I was a bit surprised that so many people chose this one. I love the whole series, and the differences in quality between its installments are very small. But I don't think there is something in this game that really puts it above its predecessors or sequels.

Although gameplay- and humor-wise the game was completely satisfying, I found the story line too silly, even for a Space Quest game. There was actually no coherent plot in the game; it was lost in a series of funny situations. The fourth and the fifth game had much better plots, and in fact I found the previous Vohaul confrontations more intriguing.

The Bottom Line

+ Easy-going and fun
+ Many locations
+ Many humorous situations
+ Hello, Roger Wilco!
- The plot is too silly

Well, this is a classic example of early Sierra-style adventuring. It is simple, light-hearted fun. Amusing characters, all kinds of weird deaths to avoid, lots of funny locations - everything is there. I wouldn't call it the best of the series - its story is particularly silly and it offers nothing really new to the series; but it is still a great humorous adventure that certainly hasn't lost its appeal till today.